“Joseph woke up…and took Mary home as his wife”
He was very much in love. He was quite a few years older than she. He had watched her over the years as she grew into womanhood. From the little slip of a girl she had blossomed into a beautiful woman.
He smiled to himself as he remembered how her eyes would sparkle with the light of love as they sat together just outside her parents’ house, not saying much, quietly holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. Yes! She was very much in love with him as he was with her. There was no doubt about that.
They had been married for a few years now. He watched her as she sat across the room from him rocking one of the little children to sleep.
Except for a couple of years, they had lived in this little village all of their lives. He was the village carpenter. He had come from a long line of carpenters. His father before him was the village carpenter. So, too, was his father before him. It was like that in these little villages. Everybody knew everybody and the occupations just seemed to pass down from one generation to the next.
Above all else, we will be people who care …
His thoughts turned to Yeshua, the oldest boy. He wondered about him. He had taught Yeshua the trade. His apprenticeship did not last long. Yeshua was a bright boy. He had learned quickly. He was now handling most of the work that came in these days. He had all the makings of becoming one of the best in the trade by far.
He was somewhat concerned, however, and his concerns had to do with the business. Yeshua was a fine young man. There was no doubt about that. They were quite proud of this boy. He was tall and handsome and very respectful to his parents. He cared for his brothers and sisters. It would soon be time for him to turn the business over to Yeshua.
But Yeshua seemed to have other plans, plans that seemed to have nothing to do with running the carpentry business. Yeshua often said some strange things. “Well! Not strange exactly,” he thought, but somewhat different. Different from what you would expect to come from the lips of a young man Yeshua’s age.
It was like that time when they took him to the temple in Jerusalem. Yeshua had just turned 12. The boy seemed to have had a good time.
That is, until it came time for them to return to Nazareth. They had left Jerusalem thinking that he was in the crowd with some of their other relatives returning with them. It was three days before they realized that they had left him back in Jerusalem. They returned and found him where they had left him. Only this time their 12-year-old son was sitting holding discussions with the teachers. He often thought about what Yeshua had said to him and his mother on that occasion, something about “doing the Father’s business” or “being in his Father’s house.” He never really understood what the boy meant.
But then everything about this lad had been different. He thought back to that first time when she told him that she was pregnant. They had been engaged and were looking forward to the time when they could really behave like husband and wife. It would really relieve some of this pressure they felt to refrain from touching each other in an intimate way.
Then she dropped this news on him. To say that he was shocked was to put it mildly. He felt betrayed. He just could not understand. How could she do this to him? He trusted her. He loved her. He thought he knew her. Certainly, they could not get married after that.
It had been a few years now, but he still remembered it as though it was yesterday. He thought about doing the thing that most men in his position would have done, that is denouncing her publicly. But then he could not help thinking what this would mean for this woman whom he still loved and for the child she was carrying. He had talked it over with a few people and decided that the right thing to do would be to divorce her quietly. At least that would have satisfied some people.
But then something happened which changed his mind and he married this woman whom he loved dearly. And to tell you the truth, he was glad that he did. The thought had often crossed his mind, “What if I had not followed my heart and done what I believed God wanted me to do? What if…”
Just then he heard a voice calling to him. It was Yeshua, tall and handsome, standing in the doorway. “Dad. Can you come a minute? I need a hand with something here.” Joseph got up from his reverie and smiling at the young man, he went to see how he could help. No Dad could have been prouder of his son than he was at that very moment.